Friday, August 11, 2006


I do my best to prowl the blogosphere to see what horrors and evils are attempting to destroy The Episcopal Church. This one made my blood run cold. And it typifies what is at stake in the battle between the traditional, mainstream Episcopalians and those who want to take-over The Episcopal Church and re-shape it in some sort of fundamentalist image.

Brad Drell (a.k.a. the Knight of What It Means to Be Truly "Orthodox") posted a note which led to
this discussion. You should read through that whole tread, to catch its ebb and flow.

But this is the part that made my blood run cold. One of his conservative commenters said (with applause from her sideliners):

“Some parishes now simply no longer ‘receive transfer letters’ from other
parishes until they are certain that the Episcopalian in question is a Christian
and is discipled.”
What??? Her conservative parish does not accept transfer letters from other Episcopalians until her high-and-holy parish determines – in its sole discretion – that the newcomers are sufficiently “Christian” and “discipled”??? My friends, are we living in the 21st century or in the Reformation??

In the interest of “truth-in-advertising,” I sure hope her parish has a sign above its door, reading: “All words and thoughts uttered herein have been approved by The Southern Baptist Convention”!

Friends, these are not Episcopalians! Nor are they Anglicans.



Blogger Ann said...

Gee - we don't even require letters of transfer, if you attend and participate, and maybe are baptized, you are a member. We see it as a journey of faith and we are companions (bread sharers) on the Way.

8/12/2006 11:31 AM  
Blogger ... said...

Thanks, Ann, this post had left me initially flummoxed. When my partner and I decided to formally join the Episcopal church, no one did a background check. They asked if we'd been baptised or confirmed. I had been both baptised and confirmed in the Roman Catholic church, so I was received into the Episcopal Church as a confirmed member. My partner had not yet been confirmed, so his reception into the Episcopal Church came in the form of a confirmation.

But all that was required was our stated intent, not a signed letter of approval from someone else.

I would hope that we as Episcopalians will vehemently resist such facism from creeping into our beloved Communion. And any rector or congregation who would require some "letter of transfer" is NOT part of our Communion. Sure, I could see a letter of introduction from one's former parish, but this would merely be an introduction, not a qualification for entry.

I do wish the radically "conservative" element that is poisoning this Church would walk apart more quickly so as to do as little damage as possible on their way out. It is they who are destroying what is good and right about the Episcopal Church.

8/12/2006 1:20 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

Letters of Transfer are formal papers from your former Episcopal Church (it is an inhouse thing) telling your status (baptized and/or confirmed) for the pupose of record keeping. There is even a form some place. I don't think many people use them any more - it was a bean counter sort of thing to keep track of how many Episcopalians and not count them twice. I am very sorry to see churches using them as a method of approval.

8/12/2006 5:19 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Back in the mid-90s, when I wished to pursue confirmation in TEC, I did have to get a certificate from my fundamentalist Protestant church (dating from back in the mid-1960s) showing that I had been baptized. Then, when I moved from that Episcopal parish to this one in the Midwest, my former priest informed me that, once I got settled, she would provide paperwork to this parish showing I had been confirmed and was a "member in good standing."

But my experience was like Ann & ToeWalker assume should be the norm: I showed up at this parish and was included. Nobody set up klieglights [sp?] or subjected to me an inquisition into the state of my immortal soul. They simply welcomed me as a fellow pilgrim on the Way.

For that is the Anglican way!

8/12/2006 7:21 PM  
Blogger Grace said...

Hi, Lisa,

At last I've figured out how to get onto your blog. I'm really pretty much computer illiterate. So, I had to have one of my son's friends show me why all my passwords are always, and I do mean always rejected. But, hey, now I can blog away. I think it's awesome that you've started this, BTW.

I haven't been able to find this original post that you've been sharing so I'm not sure of the whole context, and I'll be honest my feelings are mixed.

I think it's important that everyone be made to feel welcomed cared for, and included in the church. At the sametime I've had personal experience with people in the church who were not Christian believers. This was me as a younger person. I wished very much that someone would have taken me aside, and spoken with me about some of the questions and struggles that I was having at the time, and really about my relationship with the Lord.

Also, the situation can become very problematic when people are in positions of influence in the church who do not know Christ. I once worked with a youth leader who shared with me very candidly that he was not certain he was a Christian so felt unable to pray with me for the youth. He basically joined the church more for social reasons, but even somehow ended up on the church council. I'm sure this was not the best for the spiritual life of the congregation.

And, yet, Lisa, we so much need to love and support these people who are struggling even with say the divinity of Jesus or the resurrection. How do we do all this without compromising the witness and testimony of the church? I would be especially concerned for the teaching of young people or new believers by someone who was not able to affirm the core teachings of the Christian faith. We need God's wisdom, that's for sure. But, I can truly understand why people have concerns.

God bless, Lisa.

8/13/2006 6:54 PM  

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